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Medical tourists warned after Aussie death

The mother of an Australian man who died after extensive cosmetic surgery abroad has warned potential medical tourists of the serious risks associated with overseas treatment.


Leigh Aiple, 31, had paid over $35,000 in 2014 for a series of extensive procedures in Malaysia, which included a full tummy tuck, liposuction, thigh lift, chin tuck, upper eye lift, chest sculpting and lip filler.



But just five days after undergoing two marathon surgeries - the first of which lasted 8-10 hours - and being clearly unwell, the Aussie was given the green light to fly home to Melbourne. Within 24 hours of his return, Mr Aiple was dead.   


"I don't want anyone else to risk it," his mother, Grace Westworth told the ABC. "It was totally dangerous. He was high-risk and they didn't stop."


Following his first operation, Mr Aiple emailed his mother, telling her of his nausea, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and even fainting spells. 


"He couldn't move, he couldn't stand or roll out of bed after the first surgery," Ms Westworth said.


"He came off that plane in a wheelchair, I said: 'How are you Leigh?' He said: 'Horrid — I am in so much pain, I can't describe the pain'.


"When I saw the gaping holes I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I could see inside."


Aiple's swollen foot alarmed his mother


According to the ABC, Victorian coroner Caitlin English said the case flagged the risks linked to overseas medical treatment.


"The Australian medical tourist will not necessarily be aware of the difference in standards of medical practice and management of patient care," said Ms English, who found the quality of care at the Beverly Wilshire Clinic in Kuala Lumpur well below Australian standards.


Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president Professor Mark Ashton told the coroner that his Malaysian surgeon should also have classed Mr Aiple as a “high-risk” patient, and not at moderate risk.


The 124-kilogram Victorian had purchased his extreme makeover package from New Zealand medical travel agency Gorgeous Getaways, who advertised the clinic as "a boutique medical centre" with "highly skilled specialists".


His death was put down to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), when a blood clot moved from his legs to his lung, although Ashton said the autopsy had shown the clots had occurred weeks before his plane trip.


Around 15,000 Aussies travel abroad for cosmetic and dental work each year.


All images Supplied / ABC


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 18 December 2017

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